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Ideas for a day out

Exmoor  is blessed with so many different attractions,  so much to see and do for all the family.  Whether it's taking a Land Rover safari to see the wildlife up on the high moor, birdwatching at Wimbleball Lake, fishing on Clatworthy reservoir or visiting one of the many National Trust properties in Somerset  and North Devon, a stay at Ralegh's cross ensures you are never very far from all this and more.

Your first port of call could be the headquarters of the National Park in Dulverton, a charming small town with plenty of independent and specialist shops and some great eateries. It's a short distance to Tarr Steps, the ancient clapper bridge and the Exmoor Pony Centre. http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/index/visiting/planning-your-visit.htm

Hestercombe Gardens. Hestercombe is a unique collection of three gardens spanning three centuries of garden history and design. All have undergone acclaimed restoration works, and today provide important examples of gardens in contrasting styles that continue to grow and develop.http://www.hestercombe.com/gardens/Hestercombe-Gardens-History.xhtml

West Somerset (steam!) Railway.  Take a journey of discovery, relive your childhood, or simply sit back and relax as you travel along one of britain's best and longest heritage railways. http://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/

Fishing. A few miles south of us lies Clatworthy reservoir. It impounds the headwaters of the River Tone and the surrounding rolling hills provide a picturesque setting for a few hours contemplative fishing!  The season is March 17th - October 10th.

Anglers can enjoy fishing for rainbow and brown trout from the banks of this 130 acre reservoir or form a boat.  Fishing boats may be hired for rowing or you may use your own electric outboard boat.

The rod average during 2009 was 2.6 fish and the total for the season was 8,874. The largest rainbow trout caught in 2009 weighed in at 8lbs 4oz (the reservoir record is 16lbs 10oz caught in 1998). The biggest brown trout caught in 2009 was 7lbs (the record is 8lbs 2oz caught in 1994). The fishing lodge has facilities for the disabled, plus an 'Allan' wheelie boat.http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/recreation/threecol.aspx?id=530

The Tarka Trail.  This trail is over 180 miles in length taking a looping route through North and Mid Devon, from the rugged Atlantic Coast, the estuaries of the two rivers of Tarka the Otter fame, the rivers Taw & Torridge and down through rural devon onto the Northern slopes of Dartmoor.  Linking up with a small part of this famous trail is a day well spent! http://www.beautiful-devon.co.uk/tarka-trail.htm

The Exmoor Pony Centre. This is a charity dedicated to the promotion and conservation of the Exmoor pony, currently classified as a rare breed.  Visiting the centre will give you the chance to meet the ponies and learn more about them and their environment.  In addition, you can ride out on Exmoor on one of the ponies, on either a half-day or a "taster" session. A very special experience!

Dulverton Folk Festival. May bank holiday weekend (28th-31st) sees the 4th Dulverton folk festival, a 4 day extravaganza of Ceilidh dance, street performers, morris dancers, workshops, stalls and, of course, many, many sessions of live folk music from a wide range of musicians http://www.dulvertonfolkfestival.net/index.htm

Yearlstone Vineyard.  If you want to combine a scenic drive with some top drawer local alcoholic refreshment, you could do worse than a trip to Yearlstone vineyard http://www.yearlstone.co.uk/ situated in the Exe Valley just South of Tiverton.  It happens to lie on an almost identical latitude with the Moselle valley yet enjoys milder Springs and milder Autumns. Excellent wine and well worth a visit!

Wimbleball Lake. The newly renovated centre at this majestic lake offer first class facilities both on and off the water. The outdoor centre is open for tuition in various watersports activities including windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and rowing.  Visitors can also launch their own craft or hire from the centre.   It is also a premier trout fishery offering angling from the banks and boats. http://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/lakes-and-facilities/the-lakes/wimbleball-lake

Lundy Island.  For an adventurous day out in the Bristol Channel, visit Lundy for a unique island experience!  It lies off the coast of North Devon, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel with nothing between it and America, a granite outcrop, 3.5 miles long and .5 miles wide.  A place apart, peaceful and unspoilt. http://www.lundyisland.co.uk/

And if you've had enough of the car and want to combine a bit of exercise whilst taking in the views, you might enjoy a day in the saddle!  If so, and you don't have a  bike of your own with you, try hiring from the Exmoor cycle hire. http://www.exmoorcyclehire.co.uk/


Safari.  If you have come to view the wide range of wildlife on Exmoor, you could do worse than make contact with either Exmoor Wildlife safaris http://www.exmoorwildlifesafaris.co.uk/ who were featured as one of Britain's best 50 days out by the Sunday Times in 2008. Alternatively, link up with Johnny Kingdom, the maker of the BBC film "A year on Exmoor".  Johnny runs landrover safaris throughout the year http://www.johnnykingdom.co.uk/safaris.html

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